IWCE Preview: The Importance of In-Building Connectivity for Public Safety

Fire codes have been a major driver behind in-building wireless deployments in new building construction for the past decade, as municipalities have endeavored to ensure that first responders have adequate and survivable radio communications inside structures when they are responding to emergencies. Some municipalities are now eyeing existing structures and requiring building owners to prove adequate radio coverage inside high-rise and apartment buildings.

Clark County, Nevada, for example, recently sent a letter to some resort high-rise hotels in the Las Vegas area requiring them to perform public-safety radio coverage testing and report back to the fire chief by January of this year. Those buildings are expected to be required to provide an adequate level of in-building public-safety wireless coverage by July 1, 2020. In Florida, recent legislation gives high-rise and apartment buildings until 2022 and 2025 respectively to comply with Florida Fire Prevention Code NFPA 1, which outlines minimum radio signal strength for two-way fire department communications.

Meanwhile, codes covering in-building wireless coverage for first responders continue to be updated. A new UL standard is a hot topic today as many municipalities are requesting that equipment vendors become UL 2524 compliant across all product lines. UL 2524 is a standard that outlines safety, reliability and operational requirements for in-building two-way emergency radio communication enhancement systems, including repeaters, transmitters, receivers, signal booster components, remote annunciators and operational consoles, power supplies, and battery charging system components.

In addition, IFC requires 99 percent wireless communications in critical areas and 95 percent in general areas, and 12 hours of battery backup and 2 hours battery with emergency generator. Currently, IFC-2021 updates are in process to improve standards for emergency responder safety during emergency operations.

These and other public-safety wireless topics will be the focus in some of the sessions at the International Wireless Communications Expo next week in Las Vegas.

Dennis Burns, Regional Sales Manager at HetNet Forum member Advanced RF Technologies Inc., and Chief Alan Perdue, Executive Director at Safer Buildings Coalition, are scheduled to speak on a panel organized by the Safer Buildings Coalition addressing public-safety and in-building connectivity at IWCE. The Tuesday panel titled “Industry Discussion: Solving the Problem of In-Building Connectivity” features three presentations exploring the role of in-building connectivity in life and property safety, particularly during emergencies. Brothers who both serve in law enforcement and were involved in the Las Vegas shooting incident at Mandalay Bay (one a responder and one a victim) will also participate in the panel and discuss the crucial role of communications during emergencies.

Safer Buildings Coalition will present a similar panel at Connectivity Expo in May.

ADRF will showcase its public safety product lines including IFC and NFPA code-compliant public safety repeaters and industry-leading ADXV DAS in booth No. 3135.

“As regulations change, it’s important for buildings to have cost-effective options that meet FirstNet and AHJ requirements while further improving safety,” said Burns. “We can meet both these needs by teaming up with other industry leaders and help building owners and system installers looking to increase safety through better communications.”

More at IWCE

Visit WIA’s Frequency Coordination Team at booth 3729. Members of the team will be at IWCE to promote the top-level service that our current coordination customers have come to expect and that new customers can look forward to. The team will also promote our expanded service offerings and provide a sneak peek at a new electronic application filing system that WIA is implementing. The team also can answer questions about other WIA initiatives, including the Telecommunications Education Center, benefits of membership in the association, and Connectivity Expo in May.

Crown Castle has three scheduled speakers at the show, including Scott Longhurst, Bo Piekarski and Mark Reudink, who will be speaking about everything from small cells and HetNets to 5G.

Justin Blair, Executive Director of Verizon Wireless Business Products, will deliver a keynote address Wednesday, and several other speakers from Verizon will participate on panels addressing HetNets and 5G.

Discussing network densification and 5G during a Tuesday panel will be Eric Toenjes of Graybar, Jim Lockwood of City Pole, Kurt Jacobs of JMA Wireless, Mark Reudink of Crown Castle and Luke Lucas of T-Mobile.

Allan Tantillo, Vice President of New Technologies at Vertical Bridge, will speak on enterprise and critical infrastructure communications systems in the cloud during a panel Thursday.

Don Henry of Comba Telecom will speak on a panel about in-building public-safety communications systems.

Catch up with WIA members exhibiting at the show, including:

ADRF (Booth 3135)

American Tower (Booth 2943)

Comba Telecom (Booth 3034)

Crown Castle (Booth 3030)

Graybar (Booth 363)

International Tower Lighting (Booth 2933)

NextNav (Booth 317)

SOLiD (Booth 3551)

TESSCO Technologies (Booth 3228)

Verizon (Booths 3561 and 1325)

Winncom Technologies (Booth 3648)

Zinwave (Booth 3432)